Uptick in BA.2 Driven Covid Cases in US

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According to CNN Health, Covid-19 cases are reportedly tending up across the US, primarily driven by Omicron BA.2 subvariant (almost 86% of total cases). “Despite BA.2’s near-complete takeover from two other circulating Omicron subvariants, BA.1 and BA 1.1, US hospitalizations are at record low levels, and they continue to drop. Deaths also continue to fall.”

Quoting Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, CNN Health writes that even he doesn’t know what BA.2 subvariant will do?

We are certainly seeing the beginning of a surge of new infections. It depends on how high we go up in the surge, and it depends on whether the surge is associated with an increase in severe disease. I can’t say where we are right now, because we’re transitioning.

– Dr. Anthony Fauci (source: CNN Health)

Referring to the variant-tracking website Covariants.org, CNN Health writes that BA.2 subvariant has different stories for different countries, where US case is different than the UK and Europe.

“The Netherlands was near the peak of its BA.2 wave when the subvariant reached 83% of infections there in the second week of March. Switzerland was also close to its BA.2 peak when the subvariant reached 80% of infections in mid-March. After falling for weeks, cases in the UK had doubled from a low point on February 25 and would soon reach the height of the BA.2 wave when the subvariant was causing 88% of cases there between March 7 and March 21.”

Pavitra Roychoudhury, who studies the spread of infectious diseases at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, told CNN “I’ve been cautiously optimistic about BA.2 because of the trends that it’s not been as exponential a rise in cases, like we saw when Omicron first emerged. The tidal wave of Omicron that hit the US over the winter has left a lot of immunity in its wake. We’re also more vaccinated and boosted as a country than we’ve ever been — though health officials say we could do a lot better on boosters.”

Quoting public health officials, CNN writes that ‘Covid-19 superspreading, which involves the virus spreading at a single event on a larger scale than what is typically expected, is still possible and poses a risk. But in this stage of the pandemic, a large event may not necessarily be an invitation to widespread, unchecked illness — if people use tools now available to limit risk’.

Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN Health “We used to be concerned because these superspreading events would put a lot of people in the hospital and as a consequence, some in intensive care units, and even some people dying. This is less likely to happen now. Given the level of natural immunity as well as vaccination in our communities, most people infected now are going to get mild illness that doesn’t require them to be hospitalized.”

But by using the right tools at the right times, there are hopes that Covid-19 superspreading could become a thing of the past, CNN Health writes.

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of April 13, 9 p.m.) 713,605,745 doses have been distributed and 567,188,881 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data a total of 9,644,288 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of April 13) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 1,435,914 with 12,454 deaths.